China's richest man Liang Wengen may join ruling elite

Liang Wengen with Angela Merkel in Berlin in January 2009
Image caption Liang Wengen made his fortune in China's construction boom

China's richest man is set to join the ruling Communist Party's Central Committee, media reports say.

If Liang Wengen, 55, is chosen by the party's 2012 congress, he will be the first entrepreneur to join the body, which in effect rules the country.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing says this would be a hugely symbolic shift in the party's view of business.

Construction magnate Mr Liang topped both the Forbes and Hurun rich lists with a wealth of more than $9bn (£6bn).

The media reports said he had completed a vetting procedure for the 300-strong body and was on track for approval by the congress in October next year.

Our correspondent says China's wealthy are increasingly being courted by the party, which only started allowing businessmen into its ranks a decade ago.

Mr Liang's company Sany, which manufactures cranes and excavators, has benefited in recent years from China's building boom.

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